Currently viewing the tag: "Sunset Drive"

Yesterday I received the following email from Mr. Gus Pego, FDOT District 6 Secretary:

As you know, at the public information meeting on March 30th for the resurfacing project on Sunset Drive from SW 84th Place to 69 Avenue, the department received numerous inquiries and requests regarding the configuration of the roadway to address the needs of bicyclists.

The design presented at that meeting reflected a minor pavement widening into the roadway median and a reduction in lane width of the inside travel lane in order to implement a wide outside lane in each direction (14 feet in width) to provide a bicycle facility along the corridor.  A wide outside lane is one in which the motorist and bicyclist travel in the outside lane together. This meets the requirements of a bicycle facility per the department’s standards.

At the public meeting, the bicycle community requested that the District evaluate an option that would provide a delineated lane for bicyclists.

The department evaluated two different options:

  1. Implementation of 4 foot undesignated bike lane in each direction
  2. Implementation of a 5 foot designated bike lane in each direction.

Each of these options would require the addition of significant amounts of pavement to the corridor.  As such, new drainage facilities would be needed to treat the additional stormwater runoff resulting from the new pavement areas.  Normally french drains would be used for this purpose and environmental permits would be required.  Given the project’s close proximity to the South Wellfield protection area, the department’s research indicates that this type of drainage system is not feasible or permittable in this area, although any existing exfiltration trenches or slab covered trenches are “grandfathered-in. Only dry systems for treatment and attenuation (swales or ponds) which would not fit in the corridor without ROW acquisition could be permitted in this area.  The additional pavement area would also require the implementation of concrete curb and gutter along the roadway edges due to the proximity to fixed objects along the roadway.

The current project budget is $3.5 Million. The two options cited above are estimated to cost $9.9 Million and $10.1 Million, respectively.

Due to the increased cost and probable drainage permitting issues cited above, the department is not able to implement a 4 foot undesignated bike lane or 5 foot designated bike lane as part of this project. Therefore, the current design of a 14 foot wide outside lane will be maintained; however the department will explore the possibility of installing signing to inform motorists that they need to provide a 3 foot clearance to bicycles and will also explore utilization of special pavement markings.”

Kudos to this el nuevo herald article by Daniel Shoer Roththat reinforces what we have been saying for a while: we need to prioritize pedestrians and bicyclists in the re-design of roads.  (translated by google)

Throughout Miami-Dade, I see workers working on the rejuvenation of the main avenues..Transportation officials are taking advantage of the flood of economic stimulus dollars to repave major roads cracked and realign their paths…These projects happen once every two or three decades, so a coalition of cyclists and supporters of a multimodal transport system are pressing officials to redesign the streets with narrow lanes to accommodate las bicicletas.

At least on Sunset Drive,  a paving project which has recieved significant attention from cyclists,  the response of the Department of Transportation Florida (DOT) has so far been a NO.

It has been scientifically proven that after public transport, bicycle use is the most effective antidote to traffic congestion. However, the County has few designated routes for bicycles and zoning codes that are based on an outdated philosophy of suburban sprawl - not encouraging for people to walk.

“We want lanes that are predictable, safe and equitable,”said Kathryn Moore, director of the Coalition of Bicyclists in South Florida. “This is particularly important along Sunset Drive because there are no parallel roads that cyclists can use as an alternative.”

Dozens of bikers attended in late March at a public hearing convened by the DOT. But more than a dialogue, the meeting resembled a monologue, according to Moore, because the authorities arrived with an opinion: placing signs to urge motorists to share roads.

Alice Bravo, regional director of development of the DOT, explained that roads like Sunset have certain space constraints and reconfiguration changes affect the drainage system and have environmental impact. Reducing the width of the lanes creates a safety problem for drivers and widening the paved area leads to exorbitant costs because they must buy adjacent land. 

“We always try to do our utmost to benefit all who use the road, and that includes pedestrians, cyclists and drivers,” Bravo said.

He added that for the Sunset project they were reviewing the design to see if anything more could be done.

A study by the renowned Center for Transportation Research at the University of Texas concluded that bike lanes painted on the pavement not only benefit the rider, but also the motorists because they remain more focused on their driving and lead to reduced speed.

Signs are not enough. In many roads, motorists feel comfortable driving fast because of the high design speed of the road.

Bikes also are vehicles with traffic rules and whose useres often do not respect them. With no preordained space on the pavement, many cyclists use the sidewalks, creating conflicts and collisions with pedestrians. Just as motorists are rude to cyclists today, there are cyclists who are rude to pedestrians.

Three months ago, a cyclist was killed brutally killed on the Rickenbacker Causeway. Authorities have yet  to implement security measures. On Sunday, Felipe Azenha strolled through the causeway and saw two cars parked in the middle of the bike lane. In another section, an off-road truck snaked through the lane about 45 miles per hour.

Azenha left the lane for a few seconds to pass another rider. A driver got close to him and shouted to return to the bicycle path, he described in the blog Transit Miami.

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Friend of Transit Miami Alex Adams sent me this letter he sent to local Commissioners regarding installing bike lanes on Sunset from Cocoplum to the Doc Thomas House.

This evening I came home from work and jumped on my bike to measure Sunset Drive between Yumuri Street and Cocoplum Circle. Tape measure in hand I wanted to give a definitive response to Commissioner Gimenez on how a bicycle facility could be added to this County roadway. This road is currently being repaved and this is what I found.

Sunset Drive between Yumuri and Cocoplum is 99% residential single family neighborhood. The only commercial development is the first block on the north side at Yumuri.  The speed limit is 35 mph however many cars are traveling over the posted speed. The width of the two lanes is typically 24′ of pavement with various added shoulders. I measured at Yumuri Dr, School House Road, Maynada, Erwin Rd, Granada St. lanes currently vary from 10′ 6″ to 12′ 6″.

Suggestions to make this street bicycle and neighborhood friendly:
1. reduce the speed limit to 30 mph and enforce. This is a residential arterial street.
2. reduce the travel lanes to 10 feet. This street does not have high truck demand and infrequent MDT buses. The residents would benefit more from the traffic calming and reduced speeds.
3. add 2′ of asphalt on each side generally to allow a 4′ dedicated bicycle lane. There are no trees or other obstructions.

Lastly at the eastern end of Sunset Elementary School on the south side of Sunset Drive the sidewalk ends at the school property line. This leaves students no way to enter the school from the east and leaves a dead end sidewalk for pedestrians. Either a pedestrian crosswalk should be located at Mentone Street or the southern sidewalk should be extended to the next signalized intersection Maynada Road 2 blocks east. As a side note it is interesting that this school has 2 crossing guards to press the crosswalk signal at School House Road and none at this end of the school where there is no crosswalks. The crossing guards literally press the ped button, while many Miami-Dade schools have no signalized intersections, no crossing guards. I would suggest moving one crossing guard to the corner of Maynada and extend the sidewalk along the southern side of Sunset Drive.

Thanks for sending this Alex. I would add that long term fixes for Sunset Drive should include pedestrian friendly intersection improvements throughout, including a complete redesign of Cocoplum circle (which right now is a pure de mango).

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